Will the new relationship between The US and North Korea lead to real peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-President Trump’s summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was historic and significant only in that it was a first of many small steps toward creating a better relationship between the two nations. Most experts have said nothing substantial came out of the summit in terms of tangible policy like North Korea following through on its promise to denuclearize. Continue reading

What can be done about reducing the amount of plastic trash from numerous sources that are seriously threatening the oceans?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Plastic is ubiquitous in modern daily life because of its light weight, malleability, and versatility in making hundreds of different products from straws to containers to automobile parts to siding for houses. It’s generally accepted plastic has been positive for the world in many ways. But the downside of this wonder material is its slow decomposition rate due to the fact that plastic is composed of large molecules. Continue reading

Is it time for legislators to adopt an Animal Bill of Rights in the United States?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Taken at face value, an animal bill of rights sounds like a good, humane, decent idea. Most of us like animals of one kind or another. Most American households have a pet. And if a bill of rights is good for people, shouldn’t it be good for animals too?

My primary reservation about implementing an animal bill of rights is whether all animals found in this country would be included. An animal is defined in simple terms as any living organism that is not a plant. Will this bill of rights include dust mites? Mosquitos? Protozoans? Jellyfish? Earthworms? Probably not, but where do we draw the line? Will society waste time and money with endless debates, lobbying, and lawsuits about which animals will be included in the bill of rights? Continue reading

Recent sexual misconduct scandals involving members of the Congress have revealed that taxpayer dollars were used to settle sexual harassment lawsuits. Should those members of the Congress who used taxpayer funds to settle these lawsuits be forced to resign, pay the money back and potentially be prosecuted?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-The idea of members of Congress using taxpayer dollars to defend themselves from or settle sexual harassment claims makes my blood boil, but when I look at it a bit more closely I see there’s one avenue wherein the expense is justified. If it hasn’t already happened, I’m sure there will soon be baseless allegations leveled at a member of Congress for political gain. I would hate for an innocent man or woman to have to pay the cost of defending charges that came simply because of the office they hold. Continue reading

President Trump has called on the Congress to send him a bill that fixes the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Should this involve amnesty, a path to citizenship, or some other solution to immigration?

Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent-The ONLY thing it should include is a path to citizenship. There is absolutely no reason to offer amnesty. I don’t want to sound heartless, but it’s not fair to grant amnesty for the sheer fact that their parents brought them over illegally. It’s NOT difficult to become an American citizen. There isn’t much else to say on the subject…become a citizen or leave like everyone else. I have a friend who wanted to come to America at a young age from Germany. So, she joined the American Army as a translator in Germany and went through the legal process to become an American citizen. I don’t know why all of the sudden it’s ok to allow “illegals” to stay. Did they change the definition of illegal without me knowing? Continue reading

Is the increasing number of civil and criminal trials at local and state levels placing undue burdens on private citizens being called for jury duty? Is it really possible to get a jury of your peers due to differences in socio-economic background, educational background, etc.?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent– I was recently called for jury duty, and saw up close that the entire concept of “a jury of your peers” is a complete farce in today’s society. At age 48, I was the youngest person seated for the jury in the trail of a young man in his early 20s accused of a drug offense. Most of those on the jury were white and at least middle class, while the defendant obviously came from meager circumstances. Thanks to having lived very close to the bone in my youth, I felt I had a bit of an understanding of his life, but surely not enough to be a truly good juror. Continue reading

Should the US work to stop or at least reduce urban sprawl in its major cities? Why or why not?

Cartwright- I’m not sure that is feasible. How are we going to stop urban sprawl? Tell people they can’t move to this city or that city? Tell the people in those cities that you can’t move to the suburbs? We can’t stop development and progress. That’s not productive or logical. Urban sprawl is going to happen, and there’s little we can or should do to stop it. Continue reading

Do large wind farms with huge turbines have a net positive or net negative impact on the environment?

Cartwright-I haven’t done any type of research into wind farms to be able to say whether there’s a net positive or net negative impact. As long as the economics work, I think wind farms have tremendous potential and merit. I have long thought that we should have windmills along the coasts and offshore where you seem to always have a breeze. In addition, I would love to see smaller windmills placed on the roofs of buildings on somewhere on the property to help generate power for the facility. Wind is a great renewable energy source and has been used throughout history. Continue reading

Would capitalism survive if the majority of manufacturers turned away from planned obsolescence and focused on making only the highest-quality, longest-lasting products possible?

Cartwright-There was a day when manufacturers here in the United States made high quality, long lasting products, and it wasn’t that long ago. About three years ago, I renovated a property that was originally built in the early 1970s. When I acquired this property, it still had the original appliances, all of which were in working order and were of good quality. It would be unthinkable that current stoves, ovens, or refrigerators would last over forty years. You’re lucky to get a quarter of that time out of them and that’s if you give it little use. Capitalism seemed to do just fine back in the days when manufacturers made products that would last for forty years in a time when I’m not sure that manufacturers were thinking of planned obsolescence. They were more expensive products, yes, but they were built to last. Continue reading

As concussions in pro sports rise (especially in football), attendance seems to be falling across the board. Will football lose its rank as America’s favorite spectator sport because of the increasing violence and subsequent injuries?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Even though declining attendance at football games isn’t currently caused by fans not caring to watch an increasingly violent sport which causes too many severe injuries, fan interest may eventually decrease faster because of the injury issue. Because football athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever, it’s a given that injuries will become more frequent and more severe. There is also a growing trend in sports toward more awareness about injuries, especially head injuries like concussions. In the forefront of that awareness is the discovery that many retired footballers from past generations are reporting severe brain issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Continue reading